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Man Convicted in Gang Slaying of Kennedy High Student

July 19, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A San Fernando jury convicted a 19-year-old Pacoima man of second-degree murder Thursday in the fatal shooting of a Kennedy High School student in September.

Victor Manuel Celis and a teenage passenger drove a rented car near the Granada Hills high school on Sept. 13 and stopped to ask Ricky Lloyd and another student about their gang affiliation, Deputy Dist. Atty. John Morris said.

When Lloyd's friend responded with a rival gang name, Celis' passenger, Hector Ramirez, ran from the car and followed Lloyd, who had jumped over a low wall, Morris said.

Ramirez "leaned over the wall and shot [Lloyd] in the head," then kicked him in the chest a few times as he lay dying about 60 feet from the campus, the prosecutor said.

Celis and Ramirez flashed gang signs as they were leaving the crime scene, Morris said.

The 16-year-old victim had been walking to meet his mother about 2:55 p.m. near Woodley Avenue and San Fernando Mission Boulevard when the attack occurred, police said.

During the seven-day trial, witnesses testified that Celis never got out of the car and yelled to his passenger, as he got out to follow Lloyd, "Let's roll!" and "Get into the car!" Morris said.

The jury, which deliberated for more than a day, also convicted Celis of gang and firearms allegations.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Warren G. Greene is set to sentence Celis on Sept. 10. He faces 40 years to life in prison plus an additional life sentence, Morris said, and will not be eligible for parole for 54 years.

Ramirez, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, is awaiting trial as an adult on murder, gang and firearms charges, Morris said.

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